We’ve talked in these pages about the polarization of the American public. While there are an increasing number of people who have rejected the two parties, preferring to be known as “independents.” But are they truly “independent”? Because whether or not we identify with an organized political party, the number of people who identify with one party’s politics continues to rise.
Party affiliation reminds me of Will Rogers, the cowboy comedian from early in the last century. He famously said, “I don’t belong to any organized political party. . .I’m a Demmycrat.” Of course, that was a joke, meaning that the Democratic Party was anything but “organized.”
But it’s no joke that on a whole range of issues, almost all of us agree with one party or the other, whether we want to admit it or not. There’s a great quiz you can take to see which presidential candidate you line up with. It’s called ISideWith.com. Take the quiz HERE and see where you stand.
The site has many questions. We’ll give you a few, edited for space, to give you a taste:
–Do you support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
–Should police officers be required to wear body cameras?
–Should the government raise the federal minimum wage?
–Do you support increasing taxes for the rich in order to reduce interest rates for student loans?
–Should the government increase environmental regulations to prevent climate change?
–Should the government fund space travel?
–Should Muslim immigrants be banned from entering the country until the government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists?
–Should a photo ID be required to vote?
DOMESTIC POLICY ISSUES
–Should there be more restrictions on the current process of purchasing a gun?
FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES
–Should the government decrease military spending?
–What is your stance on abortion?
WHICH CANDIDATE WOULD YOU VOTE FOR?
–[The list includes 11 candidates]
Note that we included only one question from each category. There are more. I took the quiz twice. The first time, I picked what I thought were the most “conservative” stances, and it said I’d want Ted Cruz as president. The second time, I picked what I thought were the most “liberal” stances, and it said I wanted Bernie Sanders as president. Note that while they offered 11 candidates to choose from, they only chose five remaining candidates for the final answer.
Not surprisingly, Hillary, Jill Stein, and Bernie Sanders rate almost zero. But look at Gary Johnson. He comes up 77% conservative.
Again, Hillary, Bernie, and Jill are almost 100% liberal. But the surprise is Gary Johnson. On these issues, the Libertarian candidate is right in the middle, so he appeals to both right and left.
Obviously, in the general election, Bernie has already said he’ll vote for Hillary, so he’s not a problem for her. However, Gary Johnson could be, since he will draw from both major candidates. More importantly, if Bernie Sanders’ frustrated fans go for Jill Stein, Hillary could be in real trouble.
But let’s look at what the polls say today, according to RealClearPolitics.
In a two-way race, Hillary currently leads Trump, in an average of recent polls
–A difference of 4.6%, with 14.8% undecided, or want neither.
However, if you add Johnson and Stein, things look different.
–Now, Clinton is ahead by 4.7%, so while Stein would logically hurt Clinton, Johnson is hurting Trump even more. But that still leaves 11.2% undecided—more than twice the difference between Clinton and Trump.
Of course, it’s still a long way to November. Any little thing could change the numbers significantly.